Twelve Scriptures project

Texts #8 and 9: Romans 12:1-17; Philippians 2:5-11


Meditation 1: The renewing of your mind

Here is a chicken and egg type question: Which comes first? Is it that we have our minds changed and this leads to a change in our actions?  Or is it in the doing of the actions that our minds are changed?  In the case of the chicken and the egg, I heard someone say recently that this really isn’t much of a puzzle, as eggs were in existence long before there were chickens.  I guess, technically, that question should be clarified as “Which came first, the chicken, or the chicken egg?” 

But what about this other question: Does our mind form our actions, or do our actions form our mind?  Or to put it visually, does this lead to this?  Or does this lead to this?

The answer, of course, is Yes. 

Another response is that different ones of us will more naturally experience one direction of this flow more than the other.  Some of us tend to think our way into doing things.  Others of us do our way into thinking things.  In spirituality, this would...


Twelve Scriptures Project

Text #6: Micah 6:8

There’s an expression you might hear from time to time: “If these walls could talk.”  This tends to get said inside a building, a space, where we recognize something significant has happened, but there aren’t any people around anymore who would have witnessed it.  No one – except for these walls, which have been here all along – could tell us the story.    If you’ve never said “if these walls could talk,” or even knew the expression existed and was available to be said, perhaps you have thought the thought behind the expression, walking into a place – and wondering what all has happened within those walls.

When we bought our house just up the street we learned that the elderly couple we were buying it from had lived in it for 50 years, raising their children and hosting their grandchildren throughout that time.  Although we didn’t have any interest in the walls of the house divulging anything about the family, we did have a sense that the walls now surrounding us had contained the long history of another family.  As it turned out, one of our first acts of...

This sermon was given by Mark Rupp, candidate for Pastor of Christian Formation at Columbus Mennonite Church.


Twelve Scriptures project

Text #5: 1 Corinithians 13


What is love?


For the last few weeks we have been exploring this question.  As a congregation we have named three scriptures into our top twelve that attempt to dive into the heart of this question.  Yet, in many ways, it could also be argued that we have named 12 scriptures that get at this question.  Perhaps instead of “The Primacy of Love” we should have named this section “The Indefinability of Love.”  Is it any wonder that we have and need so many resources to help us answer the question, “What is love?” when one of our primary ways of understanding love is simply, “God is love.”  That settles it, right?


But thankfully we also have any number of other resources for helping us to answer this question.  Maybe it’s helpful for us to have Jesus boil everything down to “love God and love neighbor,” but we see in at least one of the scriptural versions of this account that even this answer invites further questions.  “But who...


Twelve Scriptures project

Text #4: Mark 12:28-34           

Unless you are just back from a very long summer vacation, which I know a few of you are, you know that we have been focusing on the 12 Scriptures that we have selected as a congregation as being most significant for us.  This is a project being encouraged across our denomination, Mennonite Church USA.  The idea is that we are able to get a window into what we, together, hold as most valuable, of central importance, or, to use a little more lofty theological language, what is our congregational hermeneutical center out of which we interpret not only scripture, but also lived experience.  The question we will be speaking to throughout the summer is “Which scriptures are the first of all?”

One of the unique aspects of today’s scripture is that it isn’t just one scripture.  It appears three different times, in the gospels with Matthew, Mark, and Luke each having their own version of this exchange between Jesus and the religious leaders.  Luke’s version includes the telling of the story of the Good Samaritan, the only place the parable appears in the Bible. ...

Twelve Scriptures project

Text #3: 1 John 4:7-21


We are in week three of our Twelve Scriptures project – each scripture chosen by this congregation – and are making a transition into another theme.  Genesis 1 and John 1 both spoke of the Creativity of the Word and the next three scriptures speak of the Primacy of Love.  Visually, we are hopping from the first dot to the second dot, and going from red to orange, which sounds like we are down grading some kind of security threat or something.

There’s a couple reasons why this 1 John passage fits especially well here.  One is that it connects with last week in that we are still with John, or at least someone in John’s community who is writing in his name and in his style.  John 1 was the beginning of his gospel, not to be confused with 1 John which is a letter, or an essay, or maybe even a sermon being written within the faith community that formed around John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, as in Peter, James, and John.  So even though we’re onto this other theme, there is that link between last...